Wuthering Heights

The Beggarly Interloper and The Bright, Graceful Damsel

"Heathcliff was hard to discover, at first . . . that naughty swearing boy" (Wuthering Heights pp.51-3).

From his arrival, nearly all the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights treat young Heathcliff disdainfully and as "the other" who has intruded into wealthy enclave. Though the difference between the "beggarly interloper" and the Earnshaw family results in some scuffles and horrible maltreatment from Hindley, the issue of his distinction from them never truly comes to a head until Master Earnshaw dies and Heathcliff's influential ally is lost (38). At nearly this same time, Catherine Earnshaw, having fallen sick at Thrushcross Grange, is taken in by the Linton family of the manor, and pampered and prodded until she is both recovered and transformed into a "proper lady." The occurrence of these two events sets a change in the environment of the manors in motion and Heathcliff is suddenly more detached from the life led by the families than ever before. Subsequently, the differences in class and appearance between the "proper" characters of the novel and the adopted Heathcliff are emphasized in the different characters' language and tones during conversation. Brontë employs...

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